We were talking about creativity the other day and my mother said “I don’t have a creative bone in my whole body”. This is a woman who brought up two children, one seriously ill, who managed a household through her husband’s battle with cancer and developed a very successful career as a single parent. She found ways to be in two different hospitals, in the office and looking after a child simultaneously. She has written 15 books. She found ways to manage school pick ups and holidays. She would have had to have been creative every minute of every day to make it work as well as it did. But her definition of creativity did not allow for all of this.
Each day we are exposed to billions of bytes of information which would overwhelm us if we did not have mechanisms to reduce it and manage it. Only certain data are allowed through to the brain by the sensory organs. These data are then transformed by our unconscious minds to create what we see, hear, feel, taste and smell. Along the way, the brain subconsiously ‘deletes’ information, even though we have perceived it, because it does not fit with our existing view of the world, our beliefs or is not relevant to us.
All the time our minds are closing off options. If we believe that we are not funny we simply don’t notice all the times that we make people laugh. If we believe we are always late we don’t count the times that we are on time. If we think, like my Mum, that we are not creative, we ignore all the million ways that we make things possible.
The options are always there. Everything can be viewed from a different angle. We just have to open our minds to them. If you want to believe something that is useful to you, look out for examples of it. They are there – you have just been deleting them before.
An NLP technique, one which is often used with children, is to restrict choice. Instead of saying ‘what do you want’, you ask ‘would you like A or B?’. The minute the question is asked in this form, the infinite number of other options falls away. When you say to a child ‘Do you want to put your coat on now or in five minutes?’ you are deleting the possibility of not putting the coat on. We create our own false choices all the time. That is me or that is not me. I can do this but I could never do that.
Who do you believe you are? Who are you not? These beliefs will define what options you automatically delete. Changing the questions to ‘Who could I be?’ ‘What am I not noticing?’ will open up many more possibilities.